Shweta Prasad, one of India’s best known former Bollywood child stars, has been arrested for prostitution during a police raid in Hyderabad.
Now 23, she is best known as the 11-year-old star of Makdee, in which she played a young girl captured by a witch.
More Bollywood roles followed her debut and she won parts in India’s popular Telugu and Bengali films as well.
But her arrest on Sunday highlighted Bollywood’s sleazy dark side.
In a statement to the police, she said how she and many other actresses had been lured into prostitution when Bollywood roles dried up and the money ran out. She had not found a film role in eight years.
Wrong selections in [my] career made me run out of money. It became difficult to meet my day-to-day expenses. When some people encouraged me to do prostitution, I did so to earn some money. There are many struggling heroines who are linked to this business. There is no other alternative but I repent for the mistake”, she said.
Inspector P Murali Krishna of Hyderabad’s Banjara Hills police station confirmed the actress had been arrested along with a Mumbai businessman and a number of others. Despite being arrested, the inspector said she is being treated as a victim.
“We have arrested the actress. We are treating her as a victim and she’s been sent to a rehabilitation home. We have arrested the person who exploited her and we are investigating if there are other girls been forced into the racket”’ he said.